Manner of working: Having placed twelve ounces of flour on the board, make a small hole in the middle, into which put two drams of fine salt, the yolks of two eggs, and nearly a glass of water. With the ends of the fingers gradually mix the flour with the ingredients, adding a little water when necessary, till the paste is of a proper consistence - rather firm than otherwise. Then lean your hand on the board, and work it for some minutes, when the paste will become soft to the touch and glossy in appearance.
Care must be taken, in mixing the flour with the liquid ingredients, that they do not escape, and that the paste be very lightly gathered together, to prevent it from forming into lumps, which render it stiff, and very difficult to be worked, thereby in some degree causing a failure, which is easily ascertained by the paste, when drawn out, immediately receding, which arises from its having been clumsily and irregularly mixed. To remedy this, let it be carefully rolled out, placing here and there five or six pieces of butter, each the size of a nutmeg, when, after working it as before, it will acquire the degree of softness necessary. It is of importance to observe that this paste should be neither too soft nor too hardt but of a proper medium; yet it is better to be a little too soft than too stiff. One should not choose a hot place in which to make paste: for this reason, summer renders the operation quite difficult. If one can not find a cool place, the paste might be slightly stiffer in summer than in winter.
When the paste has been made as above, take three-quarters of a pound of butter in pieces, which has been twenty minutes in ice-water, well washed and pounded. Squeeze and work it well in a napkin, in order to separate the water from it, and at the same time to render it soft, and, above all, of an equal consistence; then, as quickly as possible, roll the paste into a square on a marble slab (the ends must be perfectly even, as much success depends upon folding); place the butter in the middle; spread it over half the paste, immediately turning over the other half of the paste to cover it. Then roll the paste out about three feet in length; fold it into three parts by doubling one part over the other; after which roll it out again, and fold it once more into three equal parts; now roll it to a greater length, fold it, and put it quickly on a plate sprinkled with flour. Place this upon ten pounds of pounded ice, then, covering it with a second plate, put upon that one pound of broken ice. This plate serves to keep the surface of the paste cool, and also to prevent its becoming soft by the action of the air. After two or three minutes, remove the plate, and turn the paste upside down, instantly covering it as before. After about fifteen minutes, roll it out, and use it as expeditiously as possible.
Thus, in less than half an hour, it is possible to make very fine puff paste, having previously every thing ready - the ice pounded, the butter frozen, and the oven quite hot; for otherwise it can not be done. This is all-important, as it is sometimes an hour before the oven can be made hot. When the oven is half heated, begin to make the paste.
The great variety of elegant and delicate forms* this paste is made to assume justifies one for giving such explicit instructions, and repays one for all necessary pains to make it.
* Francatelli used three oblong tin pans, three inches deep, instead of plates, the under and upper pans serving to hold the pounded ice. - Ed.